Due to the latest guidance from the government, there will be some changes to Marriage and Civil Partnership ceremonies as part of the national roadmap to easing restrictions.

The latest guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships can be viewed on the government's website.

A summary of how ceremonies can take place at each stage can be viewed below, but please bear in mind that at each stage, the decision to proceed to the next stage will be guided by data not dates, and the four tests set out in the government's roadmap.

This could mean that there may only be one week’s notice provided before any next step is taken. As a result, there could still be significant, last minute changes to your ceremony.

At each stage, anyone working at the ceremony is not included in the maximum number limit for ceremonies. Although the attendees  numbers exclude registrars and other staff, the room in which your ceremony is set to take place must be able to accommodate guests and staff so that social distancing can be observed (a minimum of two metres between people from different households). This may mean that the number of attendees will have to be reduced.

Step 1 - from 29 March

Weddings and civil partnerships can go ahead with six people, including the couple, and no longer in exceptional circumstances only. Ceremonies can take place in:

  • Register/Registration Offices
  • Church of England churches, chapels and registered buildings
  • Naval, military and Airforce chapels
  • Approved premises which are not required to close under coronavirus regulations. This includes, but is not limited to, community centres, town/village halls, conference centres and exhibition halls, and purpose built wedding venues where this is its sole purpose and it is not also a hospitality venue or visitor attraction, provided the approved room is not ordinarily used for the consumption of food or drink.

Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April

Weddings and civil partnerships can go ahead with 15 people, including the couple, and can only take place in licensed venues that are not expressly required to close under coronavirus regulations, in some venues that are only partially closed, and in venues that are permitted to open for the purposes of providing unrestricted services. This includes:

  • All the above listed venues
  • Holiday accommodation, including hotels in a room approved for the solemnisation of marriage and formation of a civil partnership
  • Approved premises such as visitor attractions may be used if the part of the venue used to hold the ceremony is used solely for that purpose and is not ordinarily open to the public. Where the approved room is within an indoor attraction it can only be used if it can be accessed directly from outside without having to walk through the closed areas
  • All of the above venues are only permitted if the room is not ordinarily used for the consumption of food and drink, e.g. the restaurant of a hotel is not permitted, even if it is a room that has been licensed for ceremonies

Please note: receptions are permitted at this stage for up to 15 people, but it must be a sit-down meal in a COVID-secure outdoor venue that is permitted to be open.

Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May

Weddings and civil partnerships can go ahead with 30 people, including the couple, and can take place in any COVID-secure venue that is permitted to be open.

Government guidance states that venues such as indoor areas of hospitality venues, museums, galleries, indoor attractions at stately homes, historic houses and castles are permitted, but this may be subject to change.

Please note: receptions can proceed indoors with 30 people, but these rules may be updated nearer the time following on from event pilots and reports.

Step 4 - no earlier than 21 June

It is anticipated that all restrictions on weddings and civil partnerships will be removed, subject to the outcome of the national Events Research Programme, which will report nearer the time.

More information

If you have any questions regarding your ceremony and the stages identified in the government's roadmap, please contact the register office in the district in which your ceremony is due to take place.

If your ceremony is taking place in Warrington, please email registrars@warrington.gov.uk or call 01925 442762.


Your marriage or civil partnership can't take place without registrars in attendance. There's an additional fee for the attendance of a registration team at an approved venue which is payable in addition to the fee charged by the venue itself.

Book a registrar to attend your ceremony at an approved premise.

As of 2 December 2019, couples in an opposite sex relationship will be able to form a civil partnership, just as same sex couples can do now.

For more information please visit gov.uk.